Local resident uses performance art to put sexual assault awareness ‘in motion’


By Claire Harlin

When Isabella Konold watched “Born Into Brothels,” a documentary about the kids of Calcuttan prostitutes being born into the red light district, she was so moved that she wanted to do something about the problem.

“The idea of anybody, especially a child, being forced over and over again against their will, I got really passionate about that,” said Konold, a local resident. “I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.”

Just as the performances of those in a work of film inspired her, she thought she may be able to utilize performance to spread awareness and inspire others. Being a professional ballroom dancing instructor, she realized about five years ago that she could use her art of performance in a positive way — and that’s how Humanity In Motion was born.

The idea at first was to literally get in motion for humanity’s sake by having ballroom dancing competitions, in which proceeds would benefit organizations helping exploited children. Jump forward several years, and the organization has taken on a new mission and broader cause.

“I didn’t want the scope of what we do to be limited to just children,” said Konold. “That’s not what Humanity In Motion is. It’s really about shifting the global paradigm in terms of how women are treated in the world and, more importantly, how we are treated as human beings.”

The organization is focusing on not only dance, but all types of performance art. The group is putting on the last local production of the Vagina Monologues on Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at the Carlsbad Theatre, and it’s Konold’s second year to host the play. She also held an art and music fundraiser at the W Hotel last year, with proceeds benefiting a domestic violence shelter in Thailand, and she has a dance performance in the works that will shed light on rape. According to V-Day, a global movement focusing on violence against women, one in three women will experience rape in their lifetime.

The proceeds from Vagina Monologues will fund the upcoming dance performance, which Konold said will be an eye-opening work of choreography that will not only depict the world of sexual assault but contain a sister piece illustrating the related healing process women go through.

“Things like dance and film create immediate impact, not only for the audience, but also for the performer,” said Konold. “We’re creating a transformative experience for everyone involved, across the board.”

Not only is the Vagina Monologues part of the global V-Day movement, but this particular performance is special because several of the actresses are victims of sexual assault.

“It’s a healing process for them, just being part of the show,” said Konold, who said she is still healing from experiencing sexual assault as a child. Both healing and spreading awareness also come from the open door Humanity In Motion creates for victims to get involved and become a part of future performances.

Konold said one of the most personally fulfilling aspects of Humanity In Motion is when women approach her to get involved and share stories they’ve never shared with anyone.

“There can be so much secrecy and shame around being a victim of sexual assault,” she said. “To provide a space for women to be totally OK, honored and accepted, and know there is freedom inside of storytelling, it’s an honor.”

To find out more about Humanity In Motion, contact Konold at or by calling (858) 876-8232. To purchase tickets to Vagina Monologues on May 17, visit